Unnerving the cyclists

A metre matters logo showing a cyclist wtih one metre distance to car

What's a safe distance? Cycling advocates like the Amy Gillet Foundation are lobbying to have a safe distance mandated. Image source Amy Gillet Foundation

As a commuting cyclist on average spending 10 hours a week covering approximately 200 km just getting to and from work to home almost anywhere across Bendigo city limits there are many moments quite unnerving while sharing the road. 80-90 kilos of body and bike combined are no match for a tonne of metal on wheels and there are no grounds for creating a confrontation as to who may have right of way. Lying on the road being right does not make sense when broken bones and serious body damage may occur.

Roundabouts where entering and exiting can be a challenge and quite a test to the heart. As a cyclist we are a bit slower to pick the gaps and get off the mark to enter the roundabout vehicles that are quick in acceleration can change the status of space around us very quickly and seem to be bearing down testing our ability to get through safely. It is common practice for cyclists to fill the lane as bicycle lanes are not common in existing infrastructure (this is changing as new roundabouts have designated cycle lanes) and some motorists can be a bit pushy in wanting the same space. A metre matters to the cyclist can be reduced down as little as 100mm when jostling for space.

T intersections are always unnerving no matter where or when, day or night the questions racing through the mind, have I been seen, and there is always that moment of tension as the stopping distance of vehicles is so good these days a last second jump on the brakes will pull up the vehicle. The look up the road to the right by the driver quickly approaching toward the intersection always makes the heart leap as to have I been seen, or am I out of the line of sight and will be in front of the vehicle when they keep coming through the intersection?

The real one that is hard to fathom that happens more often than we could quote, is that of the vehicle that comes from behind drawing alongside with their left hand turn indicator on and verge to the left making a turn without taking consideration with a head check that we are still on the inside of the vehicle.

Another really daunting thought that often crosses one’s mind is the amount of drivers texting messages as they pass. Thank God they keep a straight line while passing as coming from behind we as cyclists are most vulnerable.

What does all this mean and is it a complaint or just a whinge?  After being a shared road user both as a driver and cyclist you come to appreciate that we can all be intimidating and unnerving to each other. Riding close to cars on my bike is just as unnerving for the motorist as it is for me. Keeping a straight line remaining as far as left as it is practicable and reasonable to still be visible is prudent behaviour when sharing the road.

I am sure as a cyclist there are just as many drivers wondering has this rider seen me or not , they are not giving much space? My motto “Do unto others as you would have them do to you”.

Looking to seeing you on the road soon God willing.


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